What’s the Difference Between Natural Beef and Organic Beef?

health & nutrition news


In the meat and produce industry there is a huge defining line between what is considered natural vs. organic. Most organic products are natural but not all natural products are organic because this requires a certification and the product must meet highly specific standards. Let’s take a look at a brief overview of what natural beef and organic beef is so that you can get one step closer to understanding your meat.

Natural Beef

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines “natural” for meat, poultry, and egg products as minimally processed (or processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product) with no artificial ingredients. However, the USDA’s definition does not include any standards regarding farm or animal-raising practices. Currently the USDA recognizes natural beef as being minimally processed, while not containing any additives or added coloring.

Unfortunately, the regulation behind what is considered worthy of being labeled “natural” may be different from what you would consider “natural” to mean as you are shopping for quality beef. With that being said, under the current regulations, your beef can be labeled “natural” and still be given antibiotics, hormones, GMO’s and more. This is why it is important to know and trust who you are buying your beef from.

Organic Beef

The term organic is strictly regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In order for beef to qualify for the label that states it is organic the ranchers have to meet a couple of standards.

First, the ranchers must not use pesticides in their feeds for grain fed beef or follow non-chemical practices (e.g. no spraying of pesticides on the grass).

It is much more complicated for grass fed beef ranchers to get the certified organic label because the pastures that the cattle feed on must be certified organic, and not be sprayed in the future.

You may also notice other labels that identify which agency certified the company. There are currently 48 certifying agencies that are USDA-accredited and authorized to certify operations to the USDA standards.

Label Marketing Claims

Meat labeling is a big portion of the meat industry’s marketing and companies know that the wide variety of label claims that can be made are all tactics to entice the buyer. Because of this, there are some labels that have no actual value behind them. To clarify what you should be looking for, we made a list to help you out next time you are shopping for beef (this is just a small list to get you started).

Labels to look for to ensure you are buying quality raised beef:

  • 100% Grass fed

  • Grass fed and Grass finished

  • No Added Hormones

  • No Antibiotics Ever

  • Raised Entire Life on Pastures

  • Never Fed Grains

At Western Grassfed Beef our definition of natural and grass fed not only meets, but exceeds, the USDA’s definition. We sell 100% grass fed and 100% grass finished beef to you online. We believe that natural beef starts from the time a calf is born and speak to how the animal is raised throughout its life, as well as how it’s processed. 

Our natural requirements are very specific. Western Grassfed Beef cattle spend their entire lives on pasture and are never confined to a feedlot. The use of added hormones and antibiotics are strictly prohibited, and we require our producers to raise their cattle humanely, in low-stress environments. We are dedicated to preserving natural environments, promoting the growth of native species, achieving a sustainable balance for family ranches, and producing better beef for a better you.

We’re confident you will taste the difference in your very first bite. Give us a call at 844-668-8920 to place your order or click here to shop online.

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